§ 1. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he can now state the cause of the recent disorders at Peshawar?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Wedgwood Benn)
As my hon. and gallant Friend is no doubt 3 aware, an inquiry into this matter has been ordered. I have just heard that the Government of India have to-day issued an official communiqué as to the composition and terms of reference of the Committee of Inquiry, which will begin its sittings on 26th May.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Will the House be informed of the results of this committee; and can my right hon. Friend tell me what led to the original trouble in Peshawar?
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
Is it not perfectly clear already that the trouble at Peshawar, as far as the troops were concerned, was due to Communist influences?
§ 14. Major-General Sir ALFRED KNOX
asked the Secretary of State for India if he will make a definite statement as to what actually occurred in connection with the reported disaffection of an Indian regiment at Peshawar?
§ Mr. BECKETT
Can my right hon. Friend tell me whether, before any drastic penalties are carried out on these troops, the Home Government will be consulted?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
We cannot grow a sort of tree, with branches upon it, on every question. We must stick to the point raised in the question on the Paper.
§ 19. Sir ASSHETON POWNALL
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has now any further information with regard to the Communist activities in 4 connection with the recent disturbances at Peshawar?
§ Mr. BENN
I have no further information regarding the earlier events at Peshawar than that contained in the Government of India's communique of 5th May. A report regarding more recent events at Peshawar refers to the activities of a red-shirts' organisation which has been declared an unlawful association.
Has the right hon. Gentleman yet been able to obtain the information he promised me he would obtain?
§ 20. Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN
asked the Secretary of State for India whether martial law is still being applied to Sholapur; how far does it apply to the districts outside the city; and whether any other parts of India have been put under martial law?
§ Mr. BENN
Yes, Sir. The Martial Law Ordinance promulgated on 16th May applies in the first instance only to the municipal limits of the town, but the Government of India have power to extend it by notification to any other area in the District of Sholapur. So far as I know, this has not been done. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.
Will not the Government of India apply martial law to the whole of the Bombay Presidency and stop fooling about with revolution and anarchy?
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
What is there in the part you are playing just now that Lord Birkenhead would not have played if he had been on the job?
§ 25. Mr. THURTLE
asked the Secretary of State for India if his attention has 5 been called to the fact that British troops in Sholapur have been removing Gandhi caps from the heads of wearers in the public streets on the ground that the wearing of such caps was provocative; and if he has any statement to make on the matter?
§ 24. Mr. MARDY JONES
asked the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the conduct of lorry loads of British soldiers who parade the streets of Sholapur armed with thin sticks with a hooked end with which they lift off the Gandhi caps worn by passers-by; and can he state if steps are being taken by the Government of India to put a stop to this conduct?
§ Mr. THURTLE
Have any representations been made to Reuter's agent as to the undesirability of circulating untrue reports of this kind?